When team members trust one another, a dynamic element is added to the mix. This may be a top-down phenomenon, as research from the American Psychological Association found that business partners who trust one another spend less time protecting themselves and more time working on things that will make their business successful. Developing the trust that leads to a successful virtual brainstorming session is similar, and there are many ways to achieve it.
Creating an Inclusive Environment
Inclusion is a powerful word defined as the allowance of opportunities for success. Another powerful way to define the word is by acknowledging its opposite: alienation. If one person is alienated during a virtual brainstorming meeting, it could cause a communication breakdown that results in the company losing out on that individual's potentially essential contributions.
Inclusion is about understanding how people's perceptions govern their actions. Generally, people come up with their best ideas when they aren't actively stressed but when their brains are in alpha mode, which is a relaxed state of mind. Are you more likely to share an opinion in a room where somebody is liable to bite your proverbial head off or when your thoughts will be received with generosity and respect?
Consider All Brains Equal
Nobody has the market concerned with good ideas. If you trust your hiring process, the folks who are participating in your remote brainstorming meeting are the ones you want to solve your company's problems. To eschew anybody's contributions is a waste of company resources.
When soliciting input from your teams, accepting comments based on their merits rather than who they came from is good practice. There are many different vantage points from which to view a situation, and it is truly a rare person who can see all of them at once. When a room full of brains is invited to solve a problem or break down an issue, those vantage points will likely be realized, leading to steps forward.
All Ideas Should Be Ownerless
The virtual whiteboard is a great way to inspire authentic group thinking. It's also a great way to inspire ownerless ideas. The concept of ownerless ideas is related to a communal way of doing business. It encourages an ego-less way of problem-solving, where the express purpose of the contributions is solely for the company's benefit, without regard for anyone's interests at play.
When an idea is proffered, follow-up questions should be welcomed, and further replies should be sought from the initial contributor and anybody in the meeting. This is how ideas are built upon, transforming them from one person's vision to a shared vision.
Encourage Outside the Box Thinking
Thinking outside the box is another way to examine a situation from different viewpoints. People who think outside the box are not concerned with looking foolish, and when this element is put into play in a room full of respectful and supportive team members, dynamic ideas could develop. This way of thinking inspires new perspectives on issues and ways of doing things that might have previously gone undiscovered.
Start With an Icebreaker To Wake Everybody Up
Icebreakers are a great way to start light and feel one another out for the group. They are gentle reminders that the group works best when it works together, and they don't have to take a long time. They could be quick whips with nothing to do with the problems or aim directly at the meeting's primary focus.
Consider Asynchronous Brainstorming
Have you ever had the best idea, except that it was an hour after the big meeting ended when you were driving home? This happens more than you might think. People have different thinking styles, and speed is part of it. People also arrive at events in any number of emotional states. Further, when you host a meeting with people from different time zones, you may be catching some participants fresh or exhausted, depending on the time where they are.
The benefit of asynchronous brainstorming is that you get the full benefit of your team members' mental energies on their terms. You should frame the brainstorming and be very clear with your instructions. You can accomplish this with an email or text informing your team of the focus of the brainstorming and the effective due date, which may be your next virtual meeting.
Trust is the strand that runs through every great brainstorming scenario, whether virtually or in person. Trust between colleagues is like a key that unlocks, for some, trust in themselves, which leads to their contributions. Without these contributions, your brainstorming session is incomplete. Visit a project management website today for tips on motivating your teams to get the best out of your time together tomorrow.